The Debate on Human Cloning
In the past decade, there has been no slackening of the pace of scientific research and discovery. On a daily basis, scholarly publications and mass media divulge new and profound discoveries that seem to open doors that no one knew existed. Through their research, scientists have relentlessly attempted, time and time again, to penetrate into the very core of the universe and to unveil the essence of what constitute human beings. Few breakthroughs in research epitomize these extensive developments more than human cloning. Human cloning is the laboratory-aided replication of a strand of DNA that is used to produce an identical being (Observer, 2001). It is the process of extracting DNA from a donor’s cell and implanting it into another cell, thus growing a new embryo with identical genes and virtually duplicating the donor (Observer, 2001). Cloning offers many applications, especially in the medical field; however, with such a colossal development comes reflection and often concern of its use. The question constantly arises as to how far the practice of cloning should be allowed to proceed. Scientists and bioethicists have assumed a leading stance in the debates related to cloning and the weighty ethical questions it poses for humanity, but legislators, religious leaders, philosophers, and society at large all have major stake in the ethical debate as well (Weiss, 2001). In 1997 a team of Scottish scientists, led by Dr. Ian Wilmut, revealed the birth of a lamb cloned from an adult sheep (Advocate, 1997)(Morrison, 2001). This research revealed a very high failure rate, with only 1 out of 29 constructed embryos developed successfully (Advocate, 1997). Failure rates greater than 90% and high morbidity rates strongly suggest its inapplicability to humans (Advocate, 1997). Other studies also reveal that cloned mammals suffer high deformity and disability rates (Advocate, 1997). The sheep cloned by Wilmut and his team lived...
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